Thursday, May 06, 2004

There's a place on the official website for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign where you can create your own campaign poster. You simply choose your state or favorite coalition group (e.g., Homeschoolers, Military, Arab Americans) and--like the directions say--"easy as 1-2-3" you are rewarded with your very own poster suitable for printing. Of course, since Hewlett-Packard has yet to create a printer that can handle toilet paper, that's of limited use to me.

Back in the good old days, the Sloganator--so dubbed by Wonkette editor Ana Marie Cox (be forewarned if you click: she's quite the potty-mouth)--didn't restrict the personalized portion to states and groups. You could enter almost anything you wanted, with the only limits being your own imagination. I say "almost anything," because the Sloganator was programmed to reject certain obvious lingo, like garden-variety vulgarities, as well as the terms "dumb" and "Iraq." Cox pointed out though that it did accept "racist" and "homophobe" and that one could get around the other limitations by simply placing a space between the letters of the forbidden term.

Needless to say, as word of this toy spread through the world, the site was mobbed by people making such various posters as Take That, America!, Keep Expectations Low, and Don't Change Horsemen in Mid-Apocalypse. All neat and tidy, and all bearing the official seal of approval: "Paid for by BUSH-CHENEY '04, Inc." What could be cooler than that?

Well, it just kept getting better. As the site was barraged with people eager to make their own posters, the Sloganator developed a hiccup, in which it sometimes misrouted the final product. Wired News, for example, cited the following experience:

One reported entering a sexually outrageous slogan and getting back a poster reading "Sportsmen for Bush-Cheney 2004," raising the possibility that somewhere in America a bewildered GOP duck hunter was wondering what on earth was going on with his party.

Alas, nothing so sweet could last forever, and so it was with the Sloganator. When BUSH-CHENEY '04, Inc., caught on to the merriment being had at their expense, they castrated the poor Sloganator, leaving it a mere shadow of its former self.

The glory days of the Sloganator live on, however, in the Sloganator memorial. It takes a while to load, but it's worth the wait. It's also more moving if you have your sound on. (And, like with any of the Wonkette links above, it contains the occasional bit of foul language. Don't click if that's not your cup of tea.)

Meanwhile, somebody else has given us the Kerry Sloganator, where you can create posters that say things like Only looks French from the back and At least I can beat Nader. It's just not the same though. Any idiot with halfway decent software can hack together their own official-looking-yet-defamatory poster. The beauty of the Sloganator was in using the official Bush website to release snarky anti-Bush sentiment.

Juvenile? Perhaps. And yet, like plastic vomit and whoopee cushions, supremely satisfying.

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